Y2K: another bug bites the dust



Tina Milton

The Millennium bug has failed to live up to its destructive reputation, allowing most businesses to breathe a sigh of relief....



Tina Milton

The Millennium bug has failed to live up to its destructive reputation, allowing most businesses to breathe a sigh of relief. The UK experienced a trouble-free year 2000 changeover with little effect on computer systems.

An estimated 60,000 people were called in over the festive period to ensure computers in London's financial centre were bug free.

Margaret Beckett, the minister responsible for tackling the bug, praised the country's efforts. "We have come through far better than we dared of hope and so I think we can remain cautiously optimistic."

But not everyone came out of it smelling of roses. The Bank of England said that a few minor bugs had been reported by some financial institutions, while a water pumping station in New Zealand experienced problems, as did Telecom Italia.

Some industry skeptics also questioned whether the amount spent on Y2K preparations was necessary. The Government has spent about £430 million on Y2K while private industry is believed to have spent around £20 billion.

But Beckett defends the expense, as does Robin Guenier, the executive director of Taskforce 2000. He admitted that some money spent on preparing for the Millennium bug was wasted. "But it is better than not doing anything at all - it was a case of learning on the job."

It is still early days and therefore much too soon to come to any conclusions, according to Guenier. "It will be weeks before we can really see the results. The UK has done reasonably well and I am pleased about this. However, it is database, payroll and billing systems that we will have to watch in future."

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